By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

It happened outside the southern family market on Ross Clark Circle.

The woman behind the wheel was charged with murder, and today went on trial.

25-year-old Tabitha Farmer pleaded guilty to murder, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and child endangerment.

She will be spending 25 years in jail, but as District Attorney Doug Valeska says, for taking a life, that's not a fair trade.

"I cant thank the witnesses that were involved in this case enough- they followed her, watched her and called the police to get her off the street and they did not get her off there quick enough" says Valeska.

At the age of 23, Tabitha Farmer passed out behind the wheel of her SUV and took an innocent man's life.

Now two years later at age 25, she'll be spending exactly that many years in jail.

“My detective Sgt. Ward put the pieces of the puzzle together and that night, from the cans, and doing the work to do her blood, we knew something wasn't right."

Farmer tested positive for marijuana after the accident, and that's not all.

Her two-year-old child was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, and police found aerosol cans inside.

"She was huffing, she was dusting, and I think the message needs to go out that she plead guilty and stood in front of Judge Anderson, and she admitted she had done that- she took Mr. Downing's life, she was guilty she put her child's life at risk. She's got a major drug problem. She admitted her guilt; she'll go on to the penitentiary," says Valeska.

The family of the victim, 60-year-old Larry Downing of Ozark, did not want to comment.

They are happy to see farmer behind bars, but would give anything to have Larry back.

"I would encourage the people of the Wiregrass area- tell your loved ones you love them, hug them, because you never know when bad things will happen" says Valeska.

Farmer will have to pay $25,000 in funeral costs, and up to $3,000 for each case.

She will also be going through a substance abuse program in jail.

This trial was supposed to take place in May of 2008 but was postponed because Farmer's lawyer was ill.
At that time, she applied for bond, but was denied.

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